In 1993, the United Nations declared March 22 to be celebrated as “World Day of Water.” Most people now simply call it World Water Day and it has grown in awareness ever since. In the United States, we have the good fortune to take safe drinking water for granted.
The very idea of developing a chlorinated drinking water supply started in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1908. At the time, the bold experiment was considered risky. Yet there was no doubt that drinking water chlorination proved effective in reducing the spread of waterborne diseases like typhoid fever and cholera. More than 100 years ago, those diseases were all too common in American communities. Today, they’ve been virtually eliminated in the United States thanks to widespread water disinfection – with most water systems still using chlorine chemistry in some capacity.
In many countries, safe drinking water is a luxury and often unattainable. In Haiti, groups like International Action are working to provide safe drinking water to communities across the country. The American Chemistry Council’s Chlorine Chemistry Division has partnered with International Action over the last several years to help bring safe drinking water technologies, such as community chlorinators to the country.
Thanks to International Action workers, like Jeffrey Sejour, tens of thousands of Haitians now have access to safe drinking water. Not only is it safe, but money that used to be spent by some Haitians on healthcare or medicine can now be spent on other endeavors like education. The positive ripple effect can be felt throughout these communities – giving many Haitians hope for a brighter future.
In celebration of World Water Day, Jeffrey Sejour came to the American Chemistry Council in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate how the technology works to a group of 24 students from a local Montessori School on Capitol Hill. He also shared his experience working to bring safe drinking water to Haitians. These students and their teachers showed a tremendous enthusiasm for science and chemistry. The students also participated in a safe drinking water activity.
Following the demonstration, ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley presented Jeffrey Sejour with a $5,000 donation to International Action to assist drinking water chlorination efforts in Haiti. It’s just one more example of how the power of chemistry can help improve lives around the world.